Get artsy! Go outdoors! Get lost in LEGOs! Have a blast! The options are endless — especially this weekend, which is packed with family-friendly events. Start at Kaleidoscope Family Day at The Art Institute, check out the new LEGO sculptures at Morton Arboretum and finish things off at BenFest. There’s more where that came from. Read on!


The Loop

Kaleidoscope Family Day at The Art Institute
True to its name, this is a mesmerizing and colorful (and free!) day of discovery, creativity and all-around fun. Explore art-making and activity stations led by the Family Programs staff and cultural partners from Lurie Garden, The National Museum of Mexican Art and the Poetry Foundation. Held Sat., 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. All ages. Event details.

Lincoln Park

Sheffield Music Festival & Garden Walk
Show your kids a love of green thumbs on self-guided walks of 80 lush residential gardens. Then stroller on over to Kids’ Corner for a Chicago Herpetological Society showcase of reptiles and amphibians, a petting zoo, pony rides, a kiddie Ferris wheel, and arts and crafts corner. Kids’ Corner held Sat. & Sun., noon-7 p.m. Suggested donation of $7/suggested donation; $10 after 3 p.m. All ages. Event details.

North Center

One of Chicago’s best family-friendly summer fests keeps getting better with activities like a water slide, games inflatables, train rides and more. This year, come out and hear kids from around the city “Rock The Fest” and vote on who should receive the BenFest People’s Choice Award. Held Fri., 4-10 p.m.; Sat., 1-10 p.m.; Sun., 1-7 p.m. at St. Benedict Parish. Suggested donation of $5/person; kids 5 & under free (some activities require the purchase of a wristband). All ages. Event details.

Navy Pier

Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” Musical
Venture under the sea with spunky Ariel and her saltwater-loving friends on an adventure to find true love with the handsome Prince Eric. Based on the full-length Broadway musical, this 75-minute production features special opportunities for audiences to interact with the actors for photos and chit-chat. Held thru Aug. 16 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. $34/adult; $22/ages 12 & under. Ages 5 & up. Event details.


Millennium Park Family Fun Fest
Yay! It’s back for a summer of interactive activities, sing-a-longs and circle dances from Old Town School of Folk, delightful story times, and arts and crafts for kids of all ages. There is new entertainment daily — so return often. Held thru Aug. 23 (10 a.m.-2 p.m. daily) at Chase Promenade North. Free. All ages. Event details.


Nature Connects: Art with LEGO bricks by Sean Kenney
Time to go bonkers for bricks. Check out 13 larger-than-life, nature-inspired LEGO sculptures on the lush Morton Arboretum grounds. You’ll lay eyes on a 7-foot tall regal peacock with magnificent green and blue plumage, a hummingbird sipping nectar from a colorful trumpet flower, and more — all made from half a million LEGO bricks. Opens Fri. thru Nov. 1. $14/adults (18–64); $12/seniors; $9/child (2–17); children 1 & under free. All ages. Event details.


Pirate Adventure Island at LEGOLAND Discovery Center
All hands on deck! Be among the first lads and lassies to experience this new attraction. Dress in your best pirate attire and set sail on an seafaring adventure for hidden treasure. Discover hidden sea creatures, spar in a pirate battle or walk the plank. Held all summer long. $18/person. All ages. Event details.


Cantigny Tank Park Scavenger Hunt
Enjoy a family night out with a scavenger hunt and a guided walking tour of Cantigny’s historic WWI tanks used by the U.S. Army. Not only will kids get a good history lesson, but they’re invited to explore and climb on the tanks. Held Fri., 5:30-7:30 p.m. Free (parking is $2). All ages. Event details.

It’s mid-summer! How are you staying sane? Spill your secrets in the Comments!

— Kelly Aiglon & Maria Chambers

photo: The Art Institute of Chicago